Addicted to Screwball? A Reminder

I really needed a good laugh this week and Katharine Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story provided (again). Today apropos of nothing I thought of Meg Ryan’s loopy clowning in Addicted to Love and started laughing. Silliness is so underrated in the movies… and in life.For reliable laughs even if you’ve never heard of the picture, nothing beats the classic era screwball comedies in general and Bringing Up Baby and His Girl Friday in particular. The Palm Beach Story begins at such a furious pace that you cannot take your eyes off the screen, as sexy Claudette Colbert slips out of her boring marriage to have fun with the Sausage King on a train heading south.I can’t say that 80’s comedies hold up all that well for me, but I was thinking the other day that maybe 90’s era comedy will last forever… there are so many genuinely funny movies from that decade: Addicted to Love, Bullets Over Broadway, Clueless, Flirting with Disaster, One Fine Day?Who did haughty Hepburn better than Michelle? As her imperious, comical turn in One Fine Day demonstrated, she liked nothing better than to feed on a screwball frenzy when she had the chance.With her dislike of children Katharine would have been allergic to a film like One Fine Day, but both Pfeiffer and Hepburn specialised in professional women, battling patriarchy with wit.Though she shared Michelle’s comedic cadence, Meg Ryan played awkward and ditzy in a way that Pfeiffer never would have countenanced. But who is Maggie if not Tracy Lord after one too many mint juleps? Her saucy, amoral and utterly madcap antics make Michelle’s Melanie look as if she’s walking underwater.It might seem contrary to declare Michelle as the new Hepburn in one breath, then wax lyrical about Meg Ryan. The awful truth is, while the sexy wit and charm of these two could dangle men à la Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story, they cannot be constrained by a single post. The screwball blogathon awaits!

The fun has begun. Click HERE for the first blogathon entry!

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16 Comments

Filed under Blogathon, Retrospective

16 responses to “Addicted to Screwball? A Reminder

  1. I’m on my 4th viewing of Kate and Leopold!

  2. I love this movie myself. From the state where the title of the movie is displayed on the cinema screen is so aesthetically pleasing and the jazz music is so wonderful. It’s a rare gem see Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn and James Stewart all in the same room and I love the dynamics of how it all played out. It’s an uplifting and witty story which played true to the era and a favourite of mine that makes my heart happy whenever I view it. ” oh Dexter I’m such an unholy mess”.. Dexter’: “well..that’s no good. That’s not even a conversation”.

    • This is hands-down my favourite Katharine Hepburn film. Her comedic timing is superb, right up there with Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday, and Irene Dunne in The Awful Truth.
      The Philadelphia Story is so eloquent, sharp and witty – probably because the roles came from the stage production. I like the quotes you included, they’re a great reminder about why I love this film so much.
      “This is one of those days that the pages of history teach us are best spent lying in bed.”

      • The quote you also mentioned is in writing in a book I have. ☺ I love Rosalind Russell too much like Hepburn she’s a woman after her own heart and she knows what she wants. It’s another movie I adore.

  3. Man I’m so behind on screwball comedies. Appreciate that good people like you are there to guide me.

  4. Great post 🙂 Speaking of great Screwball comedies, did you ever see The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek from director/writer Preston Sturges? That is really funny and after you watch, one will wonder how did they get a storyline like that past the censors in 1944? 🙂 Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

  5. great read Paul. I love the old classic screwball comedies that you mentioned. they aren’t for every one. I usually watch alone so.. I don’t have to listen to any nonsense:)

  6. Watched my film yesterday for this blogathon and almost cried, is it normal to cry at a screwball comedy especially if it has Michael Caine in it?

  7. I loved the chemistry between Michelle and Matthew Broderick in Ladyhawke. I wish they had been paired again
    OR that Meg Ryan would have played opposite George Clooney!

  8. Excellent post! So many wonderful screwballs, and I must watch One Fine Day! My post is up now for the blogathon, and I look forward to reading other entries!

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